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While the calf implant is the most recognized lower extremity muscle augmentation implant, it is not the only one. Often overlooked are implants for the  upper lower leg, specifically quad implants for rectus femoris and vastus lateralis and medialis muscles. While far less performed than calf implants that is undoubtably due to the lack of both public and surgeon familiarity.

Thigh implants represent the largest of all cosmetic body implants, both in volume and surface area coverage. The largest quad muscle that can be augmented is the combined rectus femoris-vastus lateralis muscle group. This muscle group is located over the anterolateral thigh which runs with a vertical orientation from the hip down to the knee. These two quad muscles often share a common fascial covering…although not always so. Together they create the most significant upper leg muscle profile as most vividly illustrated in body builders. 

All such thigh implants are made custom since there are no standard thigh implants nor are there any other body implants that could remotely be used for an aesthetically pleasing effect. Oblong in shape typical thicknesses are in the 1.5cm to 2.5cms withe thickest part being in the upper third of the implants and tapering down inferiorly. Their outer surface can be completely smooth or a valley can be placed in them to represent the inferior separation of the two muscle bellies that exists naturally in most people.

The curved skin incision for placement is placed at their upper extent and is never greater than 5 cms. Dissection is carried down to the muscle fascia which is opened and long instruments used to create the implant pocket. The key is to get low enough on the thigh so such instruments need to be at least 30cms long. The thigh implants are rolled and inserted and then unrolled and positioned. A drain is placed beneath them which exits out from the skin above the incision.

Thigh implants are often combined if the patient so chooses with vastus medialis implants for an overall anterior thigh muscle enhancement effect. These small implants add little to the recovery so many men choose to have them placed as well.

Recovery from thigh implants is less than that of calf implants from a physical/discomfort standpoint. But the drain usually needs to stay in for at least two weeks as the most common postoperative complication, not unsurprisingly in such a large implant, is a fluid collection. (seroma) Thus the longer the drains stays in the less risk for such fluid collections after they are removed.   

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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